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Jigalong to get new meeting places thanks to AACAP

wash day 2.jpg

Young Aboriginal girl in red school uniform and three soldiers (2 women and 1 man) surround a white dog on a grassed area. One soldier holds a hose. In the background is a playground.
Dog wash day at Jigalong Remote Community School (Photo courtesy of Department of Defence)
14 Aug 2019

A community barbecue area and a Youth and Family Centre are rising from the red soil of Jigalong, WA thanks to the arrival of 100 soldiers and contractors and funding from the National Indigenous Australians Agency.

The contingent of soldiers, part of the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program (AACAP), is also building public toilets and upgrading the road to the tip which is impassable during heavy rain events.

Officer in Command, Major Dan Palmer directs the work of the AACAP contingent which arrived in Jigalong in late May.

‘AACAP is replacing the existing low-level crossing with concrete box culverts designed to divert cyclonic flow beneath the access road,’ Major Palmer said.

Indigenous owned company Parakeelya Architecture and Construction, is building the Youth and Family Centre.

The 4 month project includes the delivery of other services to the community.

‘AACAP provides a community dental clinic within the Jigalong Community Health Clinic for the duration of the project,’ Major Palmer said.

‘Our dental team provides teeth and gum cleaning, fillings, extractions and refers patients to comprehensive facilities in Newman or further for more complicated procedures.’

‘Our medical and environmental health team is focussed on maintaining the health and fitness of the AACAP contingent. However they participate in health education projects to complement the existing Jigalong Community Health Centre initiatives.’

In June, an army vet visited the community and provided health checks for over 100 pets including treatment for worms and ticks as well as castration and de-sexing procedures. The vet organised a very well received school dog wash day to educate the kids on keeping their pet clean and healthy.

The AACAP contingent also provide certified training programs for the community including courses in tourism and hospitality, mechanical trouble-shooting and construction. Other courses relate to health, art and music.

‘AACAP has been very warmly received by the Jigalong Elders and Community as a whole,’ Major Palmer said.

‘Army participates in weekly combined sport with the locals (AFL being the most popular), and other community events.’

The community and Army recently came together for the Jigalong Family and Careers Day where they united to celebrate NAIDOC and AACAP.

The Army Engineers are mainly from the 21st Construction Squadron of the 6th Engineer Regiment based at RAAF Amberley near Ipswich, and are assisted by other engineer units from around Australia.

The other personnel involved in health, logistics, communications and training staff come from various units around Australia.

The project is expected to end in mid-September.

Find out more

The Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Programme [PDF - 52KB] is a joint project run by the National Indigenous Australians Agency, which provides up to $7 million per project, and the Australian Army which contributes in-kind support to a similar amount including personnel and equipment resources.

46 Indigenous communities across Australia, including Jigalong, have benefited from the program over the past 23 years.

For more information about Parakeelya Architecture and Construction, visit PACM - Building Opportunities.

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